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at Advocates for Children

151 West 30th Street
5th Floor
New York, NY 10001

TEL 800.388.2014
FAX 212.807.6872

PLEASE NOTE: In some cases, certain information on this page may not be current.

Important changes related to McKinney-Vento were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA). The changes went into effect October 1, 2016, and include: expanded transportation protections until the end of the school year for temporarily housed students who move into permanent housing, the inclusion of preschool in the definition of "school of origin" (children can stay in their school of origin and receive transportation to that school), and changes to the dispute resolution process which include the provision of all McKinney-Vento related services (for example, continued enrollment and transportation) until a final decision is issued. For more information about ESSA changes to the McKinney-Vento Act, see the State Education Department's Field Memo regarding Implementation of Changes to McKinney-Vento Homeless Act as a Result of Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act.

Please continue to check here for updated information about how new laws will impact policies and procedures in New York State, and as always, feel free to contact NYS-TEACHS at 800-388-2014 with any questions you may have.

FAQs: Transportation

Who is responsible for arranging transportation services?

The LEA liaison for the district where the student is enrolled in school make sure transportation is arranged. 42 U.S.C. §11432 (g)(6)(A)(vii).

Are transportation services available to students who enroll in the local school where they are temporarily residing?

Students who transfer to the local school are entitled to the same transportation services, if any, offered to permanently housed students living in the district. 42 U.S.C §11432 (g)(5)(A).

How long must a school district provide transportation?

A school district must provide transportation for the entire time the youth is in temporary housing and through the remainder of the year in which permanent housing is found. 42 U.S.C. §11432 (g)(1)(J)(iii) & (g)(3)(A).

What happens if the school of origin is very far away from where the student is temporarily residing?

Transportation must be provided for students temporarily residing within 50 miles one way of their school building. If the school is more than 50 miles away, the school district is not required to provide transportation for the student unless the Commissioner of the State Education Department determines it is in the best interest of the student. N.Y. Education Law § 3209(4)(c).

Must the school district provide transportation even if they believe the student is not entitled to attend school in that district?

Yes. Students are entitled to transportation during any dispute regarding school selection, enrollment, or transportation. 42 U.S.C. §11432(g)(3)(E)(i)8 N.Y.C.R.R. §100.2(x)(7)(ii)(c).

When is the Department of Social Services (DSS) responsible for providing transportation?

DSS is responsible for the transportation of students to and from school whed DSS has placed the student in temporary housing outside of the school district of attendance and the student is eligible for Emergency Assistance for Families (EAF). Examples of temporary housing include: shelters, hotels, and motels. N.Y. Education Law § 3209(4)(a); Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Administrative Directive 06-ADM-15.

When is it appropriate for DSS to provide public transportation passes versus busing for students it has placed in temporary housing?

DSS should provide the same or comparable mode of transportation (e.g. typically yellow school bus, van) as that used by the school district for students who are permanently housed. While waiting for bus service; DSS may provide alternate transportation such as mileage reimbursement and/or transit passes so that a student does not miss school. It is expected that alternate transportation will be used on a short term basis only while busing is being established. Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Administrative Directive 06-ADM-15.

Who is responsible for transportation for students residing in runaway and homeless youth (RHY) shelters?

For students attending the school of origin who are temporarily living in a different district, RHY shelters may provide transportation and will be fully reimbursed by the State Education Department by filing an RHYA Transportation Form. If the RHY shelter is unwilling or unable to provide transportation, the school district of attendance must provide transportation. The school district will be fully reimbursed for the expense by the State Education Department by filing an RHYA Transportation Form. For students attending school in the district of current location, that district should arrange for transportation to the extent that it is offered to permanently housed students in the district. N.Y. Education Law § 3209(4).

Can a Department of Social Services (DSS) or a Runaway and Homeless Youth (RHY) shelter contract with a school district or BOCES to provide transportation?

Yes. A social services district or an RHY facility may contract with a school district or BOCES to provide transportation for students experiencing homelessness. N.Y. Education Law § 3209(4)(a) and (b).

Can school districts provide transportation to parents to accompany their children to school?

Yes. For example, in cases where busing was not arranged, districts have provided parents with gas cards or reimbursed parents who use their own cars to bring their kids to school. Districts have also provided public transportation passes to parents to accompany their children on public transportation where busing was unavailable.

Who is responsible for providing transportation assistance to parents?

Whichever entity is responsible for transporting the child (typically either the district of attendance or DSS) is also responsible for the parent's transportation costs. N.Y. Education Law § 3209(4)(c); Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Administrative Directive 06-ADM-15.

How can school districts pay for transporting homeless students?

  • Districts are eligible for aid from the State Education Department for allowable costs associated with transporting students who are homeless. This includes additional costs incurred transporting such students across school district lines. Districts will be reimbursed using the same transportation aid ratios as those used for permanently housed students. N.Y. Education Law § 3209(4)(c); 8 N.Y.C.R.R. Section 100.2 (x)(6)(vi).
  • School districts may also apply for a McKinney-Vento Act sub-grant through SED. Funding from the sub-grants may be used to pay for transportation expenses of homeless students.
  • Title I, Part A set-aside funding may be used to pay for transportation for students who decide to stay in the school of origin for the reminder of the school year after moving into permanent housing. A June 2014 Field Memo from the NY State Education Department authorizes school districts to use Title I funds to pay for the cost of transporting students in temporary housing. 20 U.S.C. §6315 (b)(3).

Transportation Assistance for Parents of Children who are Homeless

When determining which parents are eligible for transportation assistance, school districts should consider the following factors:

  • age of the child,
  • distance of the transportation
  • complexity of the transportation arrangement,
  • need to travel through a high crime area,
  • cost-effectiveness of the parent transporting the child,
  • whether the child is disabled, and
  • a combination of such factors.

8 N.Y.C.R.R. § 100.2(x)(6)(v)

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6/22/17: Changes Regarding the Education of Homeless Children and Youth - Updates to Education Law § 3209 and Commissioner’s Regulations

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